Monday, January 9, 2012

Hope Bridge dismantling stopped for now ,SMC Assures HC The Work Will Not Begin Till Further Court Orders

The dismantling of the 134-year old Hope Bridge over river Tapi in Surat has come to a halt, at least for now. The Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) on Monday assured Gujarat high court that it would stop the demolition.
Following TOI’s report on Monday showing dismantling of the bridge, petitioners, including retired IPS officer J S Bindra, moved an application in the HC seeking immediate stay on the activity.
A bench of acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala decided to keep hearing on application on Tuesday. After that, SMC’s counsel made the statement assuring the court that the destruction work would not go ahead till further orders of the court.
The petitioners have demanded that the old bridge should be preserved and declared as a heritage structure, whereas local authorities are desperate to dismantle to construct another bridge on the same stretch. The petitioners have sought court’s direction to SMC to include the preservation and development of the bridge in its Rs 17 crore Heritage Square project.
The petitioners want the bridge to be developed into a leisure zone by using the structure as pedestrian plaza with food stalls. On the other hand, the civic body has been maintaining that the bridge has turned into a secluded place and a hub of many illegal activities.
The British constructed the 551-metrelong Hope Bridge over the Tapi in 1877, connecting Surat with the Rander port. The expenditure incurred then was Rs 8.13 lakh then and it is believed that it was the first structure to be put up in public-private partnership under the leadership of then district collector Theodore Hope.
Vehicular traffic was banned on the Hope Bridge in 1999. Later, SMC restricted pedestrians also from using this bridge. With a portion of the bridge towards Chowk Bazaar damaged in February last year, the civic authorities started the process to dismantle it.

No comments:

Post a Comment